Carpenter Technology to invest $100 million in Reading plant

Company: Timing accelerated by federal tax savings

READING, Pa. - Federal tax savings have prompted Carpenter Technology to speed up a sizable investment in its Berks County operations.

The company announced Monday that it will invest $100 million in soft magnetics capabilities and a new, precision strip hot rolling mill in Reading. The new mill, officials said, will allow Carpenter to meet the increasing demand for aerospace, consumer electronics, and electric vehicle manufacturing customers.

"With more than 90 percent of our products manufactured in the U.S., this type of capital investment will strengthen our foundation for long-term sustainable growth, provide good-paying jobs and increase value for shareholders for years to come," said Tony Thene, Carpenter Technology's president and CEO. "Today's announcement demonstrates the benefits of an effective partnership between public policy and U.S business."

Carpenter said it estimates the company will save as much as $100 million in taxes over the next five years as a result of the recently enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The company said those savings will allow it to increase investment in its manufacturing operations over the same time period.

"This is exactly the type of capital investment we envisioned as a direct benefit of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act," said Pennsylvania Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey. "It's vitally important for Pennsylvania families that local companies increase their operations at home and provide high-paying jobs with a stable future. I'm pleased Carpenter is making such a strong commitment to Pennsylvania."

As Toomey attributed the company's move based on confidence in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, he also responded to concerns about how to replace skilled, soon-to-be-retired workers with new ones.

"By teaming up with the local, area community college, there are local men and women who can get the very training that's needed for them to land a really good job at Carpenter," Toomey said.

Toomey said skilled labor force replacement is a problem, but a good one.

"They need to be well-trained technically," said Toomey. "This is the right problem for an economy to have, lots of demand for workers, lots of opportunities for people to upgrade their skills and get a better job."

The new mill announced Monday will increase Carpenter's overall capacity and offer greater flexibility in processing alloys for highly specialized soft magnetics applications in the aerospace, consumer, and electric vehicle applications, officials said.

"This is a market that's growing," Thene told 69 News. "It's going to be 10, 15 times greater than it is today."

The company, founded in Reading in 1889, employs 2,200 people at its facility in Berks County and 1,200 more throughout the rest of the state, with the average annual salary for Carpenter's Pennsylvania workers being $81,000, officials said.

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